Unfortunately, the holiday season was not as happy as it could have been for the CV community with the tragic loss of Nicole Mathewson the week before Christmas. As I had time to reflect over this loss during the holidays, my appreciation for the strength and character of our staff as well as the genuine support from the larger education community has grown even more.
I never imagined writing a blog post about something like this.
It has been a difficult week at Conestoga Valley. All of us continue to absorb the loss of our colleague, Nicole Mathewson. The senseless and tragic circumstances of her death stand in stark contrast to the way she lived her life—encouraging, uplifting, filled with positive energy. She was passionate about teaching mathematics and innovative in using technology. Her classroom was always engaging, even occasionally silly. And she always held her students to a high standard of achievement in math. How could she not, a student reminded me, when her name began with “Math”?
I’m referring, of course, to the gift of an engraved brick paver in the Buckskin FanZone, to be constructed in our new stadium prior to the start of the fall sports season in 2015. The FanZone will be a gathering place for all visitors to CV’s refurbished athletic stadium honoring all members of the community who lent their support to the years-long endeavor.
As we emerge on the other side of Thanksgiving into the holiday rush and, for some, hunting season, school may get squeezed by many other pressures on students this time of year. There is a myth that the pace of learning slows down over the holidays, but the opposite may be closer to the truth! Our teachers have much to cover with only 15 and a-half school days this month. My guest today is CV High School principal Michael Thornton, with some eye-opening facts on the importance of school attendance.
Thanks to the CV parents who attended Monday evening’s community forum on the Pennsylvania Core Standards (PCS) and to our school board for selecting an important topic to discuss further in that setting. As an epilog, I want to summarize our presentations and discuss some of the concerns our parents voiced during the program.
The Pennsylvania Department of Education Thursday released the latest School Performance Profiles (SPPs) for all schools in the commonwealth, and Conestoga Valley again performed very well. Some of our schools saw scores improve, while others declined slightly. I want to add some context and explain how we use this data at CV.
Worldwide concern continues to grow about the possible spread of the Ebola virus. Here at Conestoga Valley, we are receiving regular updates from several different resources, including the Centers for Disease Control and Pennsylvania Department of Health. While these agencies reassure us that any impact on our schools is not likely, I want to share with you some information about the disease and what we can do to make any local incidence even more unlikely.
Letters to the editor are still being published regarding one of our neighboring school district’s invitation to a nationally-known speaker to address students on the topic of abstinence. LNP took an editorial position against the invitation, but I think we need to return to the central issue. I agree with many of you who commented on the issue on our Facebook post. We should focus on the message, not the messenger.